February 2011

One of the most complex challenges that ELL educators face is the question of special education. Why are ELLs over- and under-represented in special education classrooms?

Type of Newsletter: TELLEGRAM
Date: February, 2011

Dear Subscribers:

We are excited to present a new section on special education and ELLs! Our goal is to provide a variety of comprehensive resources that complement the tools and procedures that you have in place in your district, and we will continue adding new articles, tools, and book recommendations as they become available.

Next month we will be tackling RTI and differentiated instruction, and we'd love to hear your questions and ideas! Join our discussion on Ning or send us an e-mail with "Ideas from the ELL Classroom" in the subject. We look forward to hearing from you!

All the best,

The Colorín Colorado Team

New on Colorín Colorado

Special Education and ELLs

One of the most complex challenges that ELL educators face is the question of special education. Why are ELLs over- and under-represented in special education classrooms? When is it appropriate to provide special education screenings? This new section on Colorín Colorado offers a number of resources, including information about misidentification of ELLs in special education programs as well as tips for building a more complete portrait of the student's educational background. The section features articles and books from a number of experienced educators and researchers, as well as recommended resources.

Interview with Pat Mora: Día's 15th Anniversary

We recently had the chance to interview Pat Mora about the upcoming plans for the 15th anniversary of "El día de los niños/El día de los libros." Learn more about her plans for Día 15, as well as some of the resources she has gathered to help more libraries and schools celebrate Día around the country!

ELL Headlines: Get automatic updates with our News Widget!

If you are looking for fresh content for a blog, social networking page, or school/organization website, take a look at our ELL Headlines widget! A widget is an online application that you can install on a website or social media page that will then automatically update as new information is added. The ELL Headlines are posted Monday through Friday, providing new content for your website all week long!

Recommended Resources

Special Education Considerations for English Language Learners: Delivering a Continuum of Services

By Else Hamayan, Barbara Marler, Cristina Sanchez-Lopez, and Jack Damico

Rather than asking the question "disability or language difficulty?", this outstanding guidebook presents a framework for strengthening ELL academic support; improving the methods by which educators gather information; and building a collaborative team to manage this process. Having laid the groundwork, the authors then offer guidelines to help educators identify specific difficulties and culturally/linguistically-appropriate interventions that are appropriate for ELLs, as well as for making the decision on whether to refer ELLs to special education services. Readers will appreciate the helpful hands-on examples, tools, and discussion questions throughout the text.

To see some excerpts from the book, take a look at our new special education section!

Hamayan, E., Marler, B., Sanchez-Lopez, C, and Damico, J. (2007). Special Education Considerations for English Language Learners: Delivering a Continuum of Services. Philadelphia: Caslon Publishing.

Dual Language Development & Disorders: A Handbook on Bilingualism and Second Language Learning

By Johanne Paradis, Fred Genesee, and Martha B. Crago

This valuable handbook provides ELL educators, speech-language pathologists, special educators, and teacher trainers with an in-depth, research-based introduction to the language development and disorders of dual-language learners (both students who are fully bilingual and those who are learning a second language). Topics include the impact of culture on language; language development for internationally adopted students; assessment strategies for identifying language and reading disorders; and intervention approaches for dual-language learners with language/reading impairments. Profiles of students from a wide range of backgrounds offer educators a guide for making decisions that are culturally and linguistically appropriate for their students.

Paradis, J., Genesee, F., & Crago, M. (2010). Dual Language Development & Disorders: A Handbook on Bilingualism and Second Language Learning. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing Company.

SchoolsMovingUp Webinars

SchoolsMovingUp continues its webinar series focused on English language learners, with nationally recognized researchers and professional development providers speaking on topics covered in the recent publication from the California Department of Education, Improving Education for English Learners: Research-Based Approaches.

The next webinar, Meeting the Needs of Long-Term ELLs, features Laurie Olsen and takes place on February 22, 2011.

In the classroom

Early Literacy Instruction in Spanish/English Dual Language Preschools

In this new article for Colorín Colorado, Dr. Karen Ford provides Spanish/English dual-language practitioners with an overview of effective literacy instruction for young children. She includes strategies for supporting early bilingual literacy development, similarities and differences between the two languages and their alphabets, and guidelines for literacy assessment in the preschool classroom.

Updated! Content Instruction for ELLs

Take a look at our updated section on content instruction for ELLs, with information on comprehension and vocabulary, as well as subject-specific strategies for math, science, and social studies.

Research and Reports

Improving Educational Outcomes for ELLs: Questions and Answers about ESEA Recommendations

This document is a supplement to the 2010 recommendations prepared by the Working Group on ELL Policy for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The Working Group addresses five areas of ESEA: identification and classification of ELL students; development of a stronger accountability system that fosters and accurately monitors improvement for these students; appropriate assessment of ELLs' knowledge and skills in academic content; human capital policies to ensure access to high-quality teachers and teaching; and the capacity-building role of Title III. This document answers questions likely to arise from the group's recommendations.

Education Funders Group Calls for ELLs to Be High Priority

In June 2010, Grantmakers for Education (GFE) convened funders, researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to examine the role of philan­thropy in supporting ELL students' success. Recognizing that no single solu­tion or short-term effort can adequately address this diverse and growing popu­lation, funders acknowledged the need for comprehensive, long-term commit­ments around ELL issues. This funder's brief summarizes key themes from the gathering, including strategies for making ELL success a priority for philanthropy and for supporting research, communications, and policy engagement around ELL support and instruction.

Books and Authors

Pura Belpré: Resource Section

In honor of Pura Belpré's birthday (February 2nd) and the recent announcement of the annual 2011 Pura Belpré Award, we are pleased to launch a resource section that includes information about the legendary Puerto Rican librarian and the children's literature award that was established in her honor. As an added bonus, don't miss the tribute from storyteller and REFORMA president Lucía González!

Book of the Month

2011 Pura Belpré Award Winner: The Dreamer
By Pat Muñoz Ryan

Young Neftali cannot resist the power of words and the world around him. Whether he is studying the iridescent wings of beetle or imagining the story of a lone boot left in the mud, there is no limit to where his imagination and words will take him. Neftali grows up to become one of the world's most beloved poets: Chile's Nobel-winning laureate Pablo Neruda. Through this stunning novel, Pam Muñoz Ryan imagines poet's childhood and triumph in overcoming a tyrannical father to believe in his own voice and words.